Croatia is a southern European country on the coastlines of the Adriatic Sea and to the east of Italy. From 2012-2020, Croatia created a National Health Care Strategy policy to reform healthcare and close the gap on the inequalities that its citizens faced. The policy covered standardization, availability, connection and improving overall care. The country just gained and declared independence in 1992, but healthcare in Croatia has developed quickly and ranked highly. Here are five reasons why healthcare in Croatia is so commendable.
5 Reasons Healthcare in Croatia is Commendable
- Croatia provides healthcare to nationals and longterm visitors. The state provides access to healthcare in Croatia and everyone pays into what the country calls HZZO. HZZO is a mandatory country-wide health insurance system. Funding comes from two fronts that cover general healthcare. Payments to HZZO are calculated based on yearly income and are paid monthly by an individual or by a family through the employers. The Ministry of Health of Croatia also budgets the system. Visitors who stay three months or more must register and contribute to the health insurance plan.
- Croatia grants low cost, high-quality medical care. With Croatian government assistance and affordable living, physicians can offer a high standard of care. The quality of services provided at a lower rate has attracted many foreigners seeking medical treatment to travel to Croatia for those procedures. Competitively, reports have stated that renowned medical care costs 70% less than other leading countries. Former famous visitors for healthcare in Croatia include Russian Chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov and numerous athletes.
- Healthcare is available to everyone. As residents pay for mandatory health insurance, there are options to get supplemental health insurance for extra care. Both the Ministry of Health and local town or city governance owns Croatia’s hospitals. Private care is optional but links to existing medical establishments. Issues with lack of insurance or care are not prevalent as the state covers those unable to pay into the insurance.
- Polyclinics exist throughout Croatia. Under the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT), healthcare in Croatia meets international standards, reporting sufficiently stocked medical hospitals throughout the country. Pharmacies, clinics and even dental have emerged in every town, with rural areas having similar access.
- Croatia has exhibited state of the art medical research. Croatia has shown advances in medical research in both its past and present. In the 1980s, its pharmaceutical industry developed drugs like the antibiotic Azithromycin, which people in the country commonly used. In recent headlines, a new incision-less Gamma Knife emerged in the University Hospital Center Zagreb for radiation therapy on brain aberrations like tumors. Croatia also implemented new technologies in dentistry, while other countries are behind. Paying into a national healthcare system has its advantages, as Croatia has its citizens pay by their ability and receiving commendable levels of care based on specialized needs. As a leader for new medical technologies and devices, healthcare in Croatia has a record of excelling, even at international standards.
Northeastern parts of Croatia contain tick-borne encephalitis or TBE, which is prevalent from March through November. This illness comes of Ixodes ticks, which transmit the disease. Humans will show symptoms within one to two weeks, with flu-like reactions, meningitis and brain swelling in the first phase. The second phase involves injury to the central nervous system resulting in seizures, paralysis and many other neurological complications.
Vaccines and boosters for both adults and children are available, as the TBE is endemic to Croatia. Prevention information and availability have become key to dropping reported numbers for annual reported cases. Between 1999 and 2009, Croatia had up to 44 reported annual cases, while that number dropped to 20 from 2006-2011.
Poverty and Healthcare
Even with advancements in healthcare in Croatia, there is poverty, social exclusion and large disparities among citizens. Poverty areas affect citizens with different socioeconomic statuses, located east and southeast of the country which have been primarily affected form the 1990 Homeland War. To change the poverty affected and at-risk communities, Croatia has agreed to the Europe 2020 strategy to curtail inadequacies that its citizens face.
All permanent residents pay into the Croatian health insurance fund. Those who are unable to pay can still receive healthcare if they are do not have employment, are students or are asylum seekers.
Croatia has shown how government policies can go a long way when agendas receive support from both the public and its leaders. Healthcare in Croatia may serve as a role model for all others to follow suit in more ways than one.
– Loan Tran